My Child Has an Autism Diagnosis, – What Do I Do Now?
Grab a cup of tea or coffee (or Diet Coke) and relax.
Your child’s diagnosis of autism is the last step in one journey and the first step of another long journey. At this moment your life is not any different than it was a day, a week, or a month ago.
Your child is still the same as before and they need you now more than ever.
You may be relieved to know autism is the reason behind the behaviors you see in your child and didn’t understand. If you are shocked and didn’t think it was autism, because there hadn’t been many signs to tip you off, that is a good thing. There are a lot of things you should do now to help avoid problems in the coming years.
You may be angry and in denial. It is not fair, life is not fair. It sucks. The fear for your child, their future and not knowing which way to turn. I know, I have been there too.
All these reactions are okay.
In fact, your relief today may be anger and denial down the road… and that is okay too.
What to do next?
During the first month, you should spend time looking at where your child is developmentally, what their strengths are, and what services are available where you are. Depending on your area, there may be options available ranging from speech and occupational therapy, physical therapy to behavioral therapy, horse therapy and many other options in between. Do your research because not all therapy is equally beneficial, and some therapies can be detrimental.
Check what your insurance will cover and decide what your child needs to work on the most. Get referrals from your pediatrician and Rx’s for evaluations and therapy. Decide whether you want to try listening therapy or other therapy that is alternative. Depending on your child’s age and developmental concerns I’d suggest at a minimum starting with occupational therapy.
If your child has speech delays find a good speech therapist that has experience with expressive language delays and speech processing disorders.
If treatment is not available or your not able to get as much as you’d like you can start on your own, you will be your child’s best therapist! No Kidding!
If you need help getting started I have a 3 way’s to improve eye contact guide you can sign up for here. Eye contact is the precursor to language and should never be forced.
There are activities you can do with your child which can help make learning to use eye contact fun! You may see some results quickly, however, they will not be consistent. It will take months of playing games to get more consistent eye contact usually. I don’t want you to have unrealistic expectations that a week of playing games will make eye contact happen frequently and permanently.
Whether you realize it or not YOU are your child’s best therapist, you know your child the best, and you can do things that others have no chance of doing. It isn’t complicated, doesn’t have to be all consuming and will even be fun and rewarding.
Where you are is where you are. You cannot go back and fix it, and it will do no good to beat yourself up or wish things were different. Your child needs you to be strong, confident and have a positive attitude. Plan to progress from here. Start with our Getting to Know Your Child article found here.
So, let’s get moving,
We’re going to do great things together!
Have a Beautiful day!